JW Marriott Shanghai Explores the Nuances of Chinese Cuisine

A taste of Tomorrow

It was never going to be an easy feat to encapsulate the many nuances of China’s vibrant and varied culinary culture within just a few days, but that was the challenge JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts set for themselves last December. Their ‘Taste the Moment’ festival, which took place at JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square, guided guests through the tastes and techniques connected with traditional and contemporary Chinese cuisine, and introduced them to Shanghai’s thriving food scene.

On a frosty winter evening in early December, the festival began with a gala dinner featuring the talents of the JW Marriott’s leading chefs in China, each of whom specialised in a particular regional cuisine. A five-course menu showcased classic dishes from Guangdong, Shanghai, Sichuan, Beijing, and Hangzhou, all executed through the modern, future-focused lens of the brand. Chef Leo Cao’s crispy Cantonese chicken, for instance, was accompanied by caviar and a chicken roulade, while chef Shuai Qiang of JW Marriott Hotel Chengdu served a spicy kung pao-style king prawn with mashed potatoes and pickled vegetables.

A vein of tradition still ran prominently through the meal: chef Kevin Ji of JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square paid tribute to his city’s sea port heritage by adding a cod fishball to a rich golden pumpkin soup. Pungent soybean paste, homemade noodles, and braised Wagyu short ribs emphasised the heartiness of Beijing cuisine, just as a delicate osmanthus flower cheese tart served as an example of the light, subtle flavours that characterise Huangzhou desserts.

During the gala dinner, live performances (including acrobatic plate-spinners and a mask-changing Sichuanese opera artisan) combined with visual arts and videos of each chef’s personal culinary journey to create an immersive gourmet experience. Meanwhile, a series of workshops and chef masterclasses added to the festival’s sense of exploration and gastronomic experimentation, all of which took place at the Sky Garden of Shanghai K11 Art Mall. Beside wellness workshops and a lesson on The Art of Edibles, food photographer He Wen’an taught attendees how to capture, light, and edit images of their meals for social media, and Illy led an Italian coffee tasting session.

While the festival made for a fitting end to the ‘Taste the Moment’ celebrations, which debuted in Singapore and South Korea earlier in 2018, there are plans afoot for JW Marriott Hotels in Greater China to extend their culinary adventures. The five JW Marriott chefs’ creations may soon feature in their own respective hotels, while a signature menu reflecting the Taste of JW activities will satisfy the curiosity of any gourmands who might have missed last year’s festivities.

JW Marriott


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